The University of Iowa


Elements of Success: Research Findings 


Elements of Success (EoS) is a learning analytics platform for students that provides real-time feedback and data visualizations on student performance. We’ve conducted research on Elements of Success in order to improve the tool and understand the role of student-facing analytics dashboards in higher education.


Main Objectives and Research Goals


  • Examine student learning outcomes and behavior in relation to Elements of Success usage across several large undergraduate courses on campus. In particular, we are interested in understanding the impact of Elements of Success on low-performing students.
  • Learn how students interact with Elements of Success, evaluate student perceptions of Elements of Success, determine best practices for Elements of Success




Student surveys, data mining/clickstream analysis


Main Findings


  • After controlling for their performance on their first exam, grade-point average, and homework scores prior to the first exam, we found that students who regularly checked EoS achieved significantly higher scores on subsequent exams and better final grades than students who did not check.
  • Students who were shown an estimated grade of a D or lower in EoS were significantly more likely to receive a passing final grade compared to similar students who did not use the dashboard. There was no increased risk of withdrawal from the course for these students.


Presentations and Publications

Russell, J., & Smith, A. (2019, March). Elements of Success: Supporting A-risk Students Resilience through Learning Analytics. A poster presentation at Learning Analytics & Knowledge Conference in Tempe, Arizona.

Russell, J., Smith, A., & Larsen, R. (2020). Elements of success: Supporting at-risk student resilience through learning analytics. Computers and Education, 152

Smith, A. Russell, J., & Seedorff, N. (2019, October). Predictive Models for Students: Ethical and Practical Considerations. Lightning Round Session at Educause Annual Conference in Chicago, IL.

Smith, A., Miller, R., Seedorff, N., & Russell, J. (2019, April). Supporting students' self-regulated learning through learning analytics. A presentation at Unizin Summit in Denver Colorado.

Van Horne, S., Curran, M., Smith, A., Miller, R., & Larsen, R. (2018). Facilitating student success in introductory chemistry with feedback in an online platform. Technology, Knowledge, and Learning, 23(1)

Van Horne, S., Larsen, R., & Miller, R. (2015, February) Engaging faculty in the adoption of learning analytics in a large introductory chemistry course. A presentation delivered at EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative in Anaheim, CA. 


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